NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 2021

From Rhonda

Hi everyone

Strange times indeed with our continued semi lockdown. Poor Auckland. We have been so lucky to be relatively free and out and about.

This month I couldn’t resist the cartoon I found on FB.

When we came here eight years ago our garden was planted out with native trees which were lovely and small and manageable.

Unfortunately many of them are forest trees and beautiful as they are becoming quite large and turning my garden into a shade garden.

We had the totara topped but it is on the go again so we may have to become a bit more ruthless.

My surprise this month is a white Chinese lantern which I thought I had lost, now in bloom.

I am potting up cuttings and succulents for sale in our flower show which this year will be in Memorial Hall which is much much bigger than the Community Centre. So there is another challenge for Marilyn and Julian who organise the space each year.

We are very sad about the loss of a long serving and much valued committee member Stephen Bishop. We will all miss him and his constant support and send sympathy and love to Silvey and family.

Hope to see you all soon at the next meeting on October 1 when Professor Dearden will present a slideshow of pictures and plants from Pompeii.

From Judi

Hello fellow club friends.

Trust the week has been kind to you all and if you are anything like me you are as ‘ busy as a bee ‘ with numerous tasks in the garden, or sorting out your pots, or hanging baskets – maybe for a summer display by the front door or patio. I managed to find those extra small seedling trays at the Warehouse yesterday for $2 so bought 5 punnets – 3 petunias and 2 impatiens which I’ve made up already. Who knows, I might get an early flowering for the show. Two days ago I did some seed planting, having prepared the garden beds with blood and bone two weeks ago.  I used fresh compost from my bins and then used a liquid seaweed once planted. I did peas, sweetpeas, beetroot, broccoli and spinach. I also sprinkled some micro greens into a plastic hanging basket and hung it from the clothesline. It’s a bit like mesclun salad so here’s hoping I get 100% success!

Well, it is with great sadness to hear of Stephen Bishop passing. I got the news this morning and thought of how much work both Stephen and Silvey did for the club for several years. Silvey always put her hand up to help, especially the kitchen duties, but of late she was helping run the sales table and, of course, Stephen was our Treasurer.

You will all miss their wonderful egg and ham sandwiches they made for our club night’s supper. And what about the Xmas cakes.  They spent every Christmas making sometimes up to 17 cakes for friends at various clubs they both belonged to. But I will particularly miss them popping in for a cuppa on their way home from Lawn Bowls in Raumati, just down by the end of my street. They were very kind and thoughtful to me and my family and we used to have some good old chats – mostly about when Stephen was young and what sort of.jobs he did. I shall miss him and I send Silvey and her family my condolences. 

On a brighter note I’m heading to the Cherry Blossom Festival at Aston Norwood on Saturday if the weather permits. It finishes on October 3rd and is open daily.

I have done the door prize for the Evening group this week. The winner is Marilyn.

Take care and stay safe.

Till next time we meet,

From Julian

On the first of the month I wrote a bit about broom bushes with different coloured flowers, and how they were popular in the UK in the 1950’s and 60’s. Ten days later I was in Mitre10 and there they were, broom bushes with different coloured flowers and different variety names. Which just goes to show that what goes around comes around; or as written in the old testament 2½ thousand years ago “there is nothing new under the sun.”

I sowed some seeds on 23 August to have plants on display at our flower show that are 60 days old; just to show what can be done in that amount of time. Of course it was pretty cold in August so some seeds like tomato and beans had to be started indoors, and when they came up they had to go into the greenhouse which I don’t have.

Luckily Susan had a spare dog crate which, with a $10 roll of bubble wrap, made the mini-greenhouse in the picture. Takes a bit of a hammering on windy days, though. The more hardy plants like peas and cabbage were happy out of doors, except for blackbirds digging them up to look for worms, hence this rickety-looking structure of bamboo and string and bird netting. This is called tiny garden syndrome, and my advice is: if you have any room in your garden get yourself a greenhouse. I promise you won’t regret it; and if you still have a bit of space then put up a shade house. Happy gardening.

From Marilyn

This year, we have chopped down a large chestnut tree. After years of collecting just a handful of chestnuts to eat and 10 bags of burrs to make it safe to walk around up under the tree, we decided it would make good firewood. That meant my shade house under the tree was now in full sunshine and could be made into a greenhouse, if the bottom half was better enclosed. This is where having a handyman for a husband and a couple of spare sheets of laserlite came in. I now have Julian’s suggestion covered off. I have my seeds in there but I already have early crops that are now ready for picking or flowering. The peas are Steve’s project and are looking good. We are picking kale and the cabbage and cauli are hearting.

As we are redeveloping the garden to make space for a studio flat, anything that can’t be re-housed in another garden is being divided up and potted for the Flower Show – nothing will be wasted. Look out for bargains at the Sales Table and pot up some of your own.

Both Rhonda and Judi have mentioned the sad passing of Stephen. Flowers have been sent on behalf of the Society to Silvey and the family. There is a closed funeral of course due to COVID. Anyone that would like to send a personal card to the family, email me and I can give you the address. Silvey is staying with family at the moment.

Judi will be manning the Raffles and the Sales table, which will be a challenge, so if anyone would like to help out on Friday club nights by manning one of these, let me know – it would be a great help (it doesn’t mean you are on the committee, but we will need people there as well for next year).

To see the year out, I will be looking after the finances as I have been helping Stephen with the admin for these.

The committee managed to have a meeting this week, fully masked and spread around the perimeter of my lounge to achieve the social distancing (I wish I had thought to take a picture of it). With the new restrictions for Delta 2, we decided that it would be prudent to only hold club meetings if we were at Level 1. Hopefully next week we see that happen. For the October 1 meeting, the Pat Browne Trophy will be for the best Rhododendron, and our speaker will be Professor Dearden.

The outcome of the Coastlands Mall display will depend on the COVID Levels that are in place as well.  If we are at Level 1 for September 28th, this will go ahead. If we are still in Level 2, we may have the option to delay this if there is a booking available prior to the Flower Show. The best we can do under these circumstances is to let you know closer to the time.

From Diana Unsworth

Hopefully we will be able to meet again next month on October 1 at the usual 1.30pm. We will move on to the October programme and forget about September for this year.

The competition for the next meeting is ‘Art Deco’. This is to be in a pottery container (plain china, usually brown or grey-green) The materials are listed as marigolds of different colours with leaves, cosmos with leaves and either a paper or crochet doily to stand the container on.

The workshop is practice for the Christmas design in November, and, basically, just raid your Christmas stash. Candlesticks, pine cones, branches of pine needles, baubles, figurines, ribbons, small log, flowers artificial or fresh. For the container, shallow, tall, medium, short, fat, round, a wreath – anything you like.

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